The hardest part of the race

A couple of weeks ago I did the hardest part of the Seek the Peak – climbing up to Grouse Mountain.

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The while line is the Grouse Grind. The red line is the BCMC trail

On race day that climb will be on the Grouse Grind but at the time I went with the running clinic the Grind was still closed for the season.  So we did the adjacent trail – the BCMC trail.  The difference between the two is that the BCMC trail is slightly longer and it is less “manicured”.  In fact, it looks exactly the way I remember the Grind 10 years ago.  Because of its popularity, the Grind started eroding pretty quickly to a point where it became unsafe so the mountain staff started slowly building stairs into it.  So nowadays, it’s pretty much all stairs to the top.

Stats for the Grind:
Length: 2.9km
Nickname: “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”
Elevation gain: 853 m (2800 ft)
Total stairs: 2830
Annually over 150 000 hike the Grind.  And it’s one of the most difficult hiking trails in Canada.

The last time I did the Grouse Grind was back in 2007 when a man in his 40s collapsed in front of me of a heart attack and died on the trails despite immediate first aid and CPR.  The trail is quite notorious when it comes to cases like that because it’s very difficult for rescue crews to get to the person in distress – the trail is in the middle of the forest; it’s very steep both ways so the fastest way with least effort is to go up on the gondola (20 min) and then climb down the trail which can take another 30 min.  It isn’t possible to airlift the person with a helicopter because of all the tall trees.  So if something happens, you’re pretty much stuck and it will be at least 45min to an hour before rescue arrives.

Anyway… let’s just hope nothing ever happens. 🙂

The good thing with races like Seek the Peak is that there is medical crews all along the race coarse.  Lots of pacers and people carrying water are there to make sure racers are well hydrated and taken care of.

When I went back to Grouse I knew I wasn’t one of the fastest people there.  But I also knew what I was in for.  So mentally I was prepared for the climb.  It took me an hour to get to the top flat part of the BCMC trails which is about 30 min faster than the average pace.  So still… pretty good time considering I haven’t done it in so many years 😀

The best part was meeting my fiance and kids at the top and having a super yummy salad at the restaurant.  Greens, kale, dried cranberries, quinoa, avocado with lemon & olive oil dressing.  YUM! 😀


2 responses to “The hardest part of the race

    • Thank you 🙂 Pacing yourself on this trail is very important. People think that because it’s so short (only 3k) it’s easy, but it’s very steep and by the time you reach 1/2 point, you are so out of breath, you can pass out.


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